DESPARDES — Aimed at showcasing the artwork by desi artists all over the globe, a hashtag, #SouthAsianArtists, recently took Twitter by storm. This is the third year running that artists from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka showcased (Oct 12-13) their work under this hashtag.
Fatima Wajid, a second-year Visual Communication Design student at the National College of Arts in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, initiated this idea in an effort to do something about the lack of Asian representation in online creative spaces. Her fellow artists immediately heeded the call. The step became a viral online showcase after a flyer saying ‘Third time’s the charm’ was uploaded on social media by Fatima.
While bother genders were represented in the artwork that was shared under the hashtag, the majority of artists who participated were female.
The fact that so many women shared their artwork has inspired Wajid even more. Speaking with Global Voices, Wajid explained how the hashtag began:
Three years ago, Annabelle Hayford, an illustrator based in Los Angeles, started the hashtag #DrawingWhileBlack to highlight and celebrate Black artists all over the globe. This sparked a realization in me that in most social media spaces and art forums, Desi artists are absent. The lack of South Asian representation in online creative spaces really bothered me, so in collaboration with Annabelle, I started #SouthAsianArtists with the purpose of celebrating and highlighting South Asian artists to audiences all over the world. It is, for the most part, an online event, as the internet and social media help break down borders and allow people from all over the globe to connect in an instant. Many local and diaspora talent connected because of the convenience, availability and online nature of the event.